1 Chronicles 8:1
Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third,
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THE SONS OF BENJAMIN AND BELA (1Chronicles 8:1-5).

(See Notes on 1Chronicles 7:6-7.)

Bela his first-born.—The Hebrew word for “firstborn” in Genesis 46:21 may have been turned into the proper name Becher, by an ancient mistake of the scribes. (See Note on 1Chronicles 7:6.)

Ashbel.—Probably the same as Jediael.

Aharah the same as Ahiram and Ehirosh.

(2) Nohah and Rapha.—These names do not occur in either of the other lists. The present series agrees with Numbers 26:38 in assigning five sons to Benjamin, of whom Bela is the first, and Ashbel the second. Further, there is enough likeness between the name Aharah here and Ahiram there to warrant our assumption of their original identity. But we cannot hence conclude that the Nohah and Rapha of our list answer to the Shephupham-Shupham and Hupham of the other. It is more likely that Nohah and Rapha represent different clans, which were prominent at the time when the present list was draughted. Rapha reminds us of the valley of Rephaim, south-west of Jerusalem, 1Chronicles 11:15.

(3-5) The sons of Bela here are nine, like the sons of the suspected Becher, 1Chronicles 7:8. But none of the names correspond.

(3) Addar the same as Ard, who in Numbers 26 is eldest son of Bela, but in Genesis 46 apparently his youngest brother.

Gera appears as brother of Bela in Genesis 46:21. The name is repeated in 1Chronicles 8:5, probably by a scribe’s inadvertence; though there may have been two great Benjamite houses so designated.

Abihud (4) and Abishua are peculiar to the present list.

Naaman is a son of Bela in Numbers 26, a brother in Genesis 46.

Ahoah is peculiar, unless he be identified with the Ehi of Genesis 46.

Shephupham and Huram, younger sons of Bela in the present series, are in Gen. and Num. his younger brothers Muppim (Shuppim) and Huppim, or Shephupbam and Hupham. These fluctuations of statement are worth observing, because they demonstrate the vagueness of terms denoting various degrees of kindred, when used in describing tribal and clan relationships.

1 Chronicles 8:1. Now Benjamin begat Bela — He had spoken something of this tribe before, chap. 1 Chronicles 7:6; but now he treats of it again, and that more fully and exactly: partly for Saul’s sake, who was of this tribe; and partly because this tribe adhered to David, and the kingdom of Judah, and went with Judah into Babylon; and now were returned from thence in greater numbers than the other tribes, except Judah. Bela his firstborn — So called by Moses: but the names of the rest vary from those in Moses. Therefore either these were Benjamin’s grand-children, or the same person had two or more names, which was not unusual.

8:1-40 Genealogies. - Here is a larger list of Benjamin's tribe. We may suppose that many things in these genealogies, which to us seem difficult, abrupt, and perplexed, were plain and easy at that time, and fully answered the intention for which they were published. Many great and mighty nations then were in being upon earth, and many illustrious men, whose names are now wholly forgotten; while the names of multitudes of the Israel of God are here kept in everlasting remembrance. The memory of the just is blessed.The reason of this return to the genealogy of the Benjamites seems to be the desire to connect the genealogical introduction with the historical body of the work. As the history is to begin with Saul, the genealogical portion is made to end with an account of the family of this Benjamite monarch. CHAPTER 8

1Ch 8:1-32. Sons and Chief Men of Benjamin.

1. Now Benjamin begat, &c.—This chapter contains some supplementary particulars in addition to what has been already said regarding the tribe of Benjamin (see on [360]1Ch 7:6). The names of many of the persons mentioned are different from those given by Moses—a diversity which may be accounted for in part on grounds formerly stated, namely, either that the persons had more than one name, or that the word "sons" is used in a loose sense for grandsons or descendants. But there are other circumstances to be taken into account in considering the details of this chapter; namely, first, that the genealogies of the Benjamites were disordered or destroyed by the almost total extermination of this tribe (Jud 20:11-48); secondly, that a great number of Benjamites, born in Assyria, are mentioned here, who returned from the long captivity in Babylon, and established themselves—some in Jerusalem, others in different parts of Judea. There were more returned from Babylon of the families belonging to this tribe than to any other except Judah; and hence many strange names are here introduced; some of which will be found in the list of the restored exiles (compare Ezr 2:1-70).The sons and chief men of Benjamin, 1 Chronicles 8:1-32. The stock of Saul and Jonathan, 1 Chronicles 8:33-40.

He had spoken something of the tribe of Benjamin before, 1 Chronicles 7:6, but now he treats of it again, and that more, fully and exactly; partly for Saul’s sake, who was of this tribe; and partly because this tribe adhered to David and the kingdom of Judah, and went with Judah into Babylon; and now were returned from thence in greater numbers than the other tribes, except Judah.

Bela; so called by Moses: but the names of the rest vary from those in Moses; either because the same person had two several names, as hath been often noted; or because these were not the immediate sons of Benjamin, but his grandchildren, here mentioned in their parents’ stead, possibly because they were more eminent than their parents.

Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn,.... See 1 Chronicles 7:6. The genealogy of the tribe of Benjamin is reviewed, because it joined and kept close with Judah in the worship of God, went into captivity, and returned out of it with it; and this review is made chiefly for the sake of Saul, and his posterity, the first king of Israel, who was of it, and in whose posterity this genealogy ends:

Ashbel the second; supposed to be the same with Jediael, 1 Chronicles 7:6, see Genesis 46:21.

and Aharah the third; the same with Aher, 1 Chronicles 7:13, and with Ahiram, Numbers 26:38.

Now Benjamin {a} begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third,

(a) He continues in the description of the tribe of Benjamin, because his purpose is to set forth the genealogy of Saul.

Ch. 1 Chronicles 8:1-40 (cp. 1 Chronicles 7:6-12). The Genealogy of Benjamin. The Benjamite Families which dwelt in Jerusalem

1. Bela … Ashbel … Aharah] See 1 Chronicles 7:6, notes.

Verses 1, 2. - These verses give five sons to Benjamin. Of the non-appearance of Becher here (1 Chronicles 7:6) and the appearance of Ashbel in his place, also of the non-appearance here of Jediael (1 Chronicles 7:6) and the appearance of Aharah (i.q. Ahiram, Numbers 26:38) in his place, notice has been taken on 1 Chronicles 7:6-12. Of the two additions to the sons of Benjamin here, viz. Nohah and Rapha, nothing is known elsewhere; yet it may be possible to count five families from Numbers 26:38, 39. 1 Chronicles 8:1The sons of Benjamin and Bela. - The manner in which the five sons begotten by Benjamin are enumerated is remarkable, "Bela his first-born, Ashbel the second," etc., since, according to Genesis 46:21, after the first-born Bela, Becher follows as the second son, and Ashbel is the third; while Aharah, Nohah, and Rapha are not met with there, quite other names occupying their place. In אחרח we can easily recognise the אחירם of Numbers 26:38, whence the enumeration in 1 Chronicles 8:1. harmonizes with the order in Numbers 26:38. It is therefore clear, that in our genealogy only those sons are mentioned who founded the families of Benjamin. The names נוחה and רפא are nowhere else met with among the sons of Benjamin; but we may conclude, partly from the agreement of the first three names with the heads of the families of Benjamin enumerated in Numbers 26:38, and partly from the agreement as to the number, which is five in both passages, that נוחה and רפא are intended to correspond to the שׁפוּפם and חוּפם of Numbers 26:39. The only question which then remains is, whether the variation in the names arises from these two sons of Benjamin having had different names, or from the families which issued from Shephupham and Hupham having afterwards perhaps received new names from famous chiefs, instead of the original designations, so that Nohah and Rapha would be later descendants of Shephupham and Hupham. Even this second supposition seems possible, since הוליד in such genealogical registers may denote mediate procreation. If, e.g., Nohah were a grandson or great-grandson of Shephupham the son of Benjamin, he might well be introduced in the genealogical lists of the families as begotten by Benjamin.
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